8/2/2011 8:56 AM
By Kelly Deeny
If you had told me that one day I’d write a young adult fantasy novel I would’ve said, “Wonderful! But I’d much rather be on Broadway.” Clearly, I’ve had a long-standing love affair with musical theater—one which plagued me with hopes, dreams and doubts of my musical ability. So even though my writings were praised by loved ones and strangers alike, I didn’t value their importance in my life. I was going to sing on stage, not write! I didn’t fathom how the two would intersect so many years later.
In a previous post I mentioned my connection to the creative arts and how they helped me heal after my open heart surgery. Music may have been the initial form of spiritual healing but somewhere along the way writing became an even more powerful and instrumental tool.
As my spiritual exploration took off during my teenage years I searched for some sort of meaning as to why I was here. Was I spared? Was my existence a sign that I was supposed to do something important? I came to that realization rather easily that yes, whatever I choose to devote my energy to must have meaning. As a result, writing wasn’t only a spiritual, emotional and artistic release, it was my way of communicating with others.
What started as journal writing grew to what I now know is called “fan fic” along the way to full-length works of fiction. Over many years a plethora of story ideas led me to start film scripts or teleplays, but eventually I would reach a place I call “character quicksand.” As much as the characters I was writing about were interesting, complex and full of story possibilities, I guided them to a point, then started a new story. I can only imagine how many characters I’ve got stuck in place with their hands on their hips—waiting for me to get them moving again.
I write because it provides me with a way of connecting with others. I am at my most confident when I have a pencil in my hand or fingers gently tapping a keyboard. There’s value in each word, each plot idea. As my imagination guides my pencil across the page it leaves behind an imprint. And not just one made on paper. The stories I create, the essays I eventually let others read and the journal entries I keep to myself will live on when I am no longer present. Others will read my writings. My opinions, points of view and creative expression will exist long after I depart. Maybe there’s a teenage girl out there who picks up my novel and finds as much inspiration, creative stimulation and love of the written world as I did the first time I read “A Wrinkle in Time.”
”Gracie and her Elementary Connections” tells the tale of an 18-year-old girl who has been tasked with great responsibilities in her community. Living in a world filled with mystical creatures may seem unusual to us but for Gracie and her family, our world/time would appear lacking. Infusing my love of the creative arts, I created a world in which music, painting, dance and the like are crucial aspects in the lives of the characters. When tragedy strikes Gracie’s family she sets off on a journey that ultimately leads her to her ancestors. By hearing their stories she finds strength, independence and confidence to face that which she fears.
I love this book! There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and look forward to seeing where this new venture leads. In the meantime, I continue writing. Because not doing so would mean leaving my other characters stuck in that quicksand, waiting for me to pick up their story. So, while I shift into business mode to get my novel into reader’s hands I simultaneously start working on a new project. Whether that involves writing, music or theater remains to be seen. Hopefully, all of the above!
A graduate of Temple University's English program, Kelly Deeny recently completed book one in her juvenile fiction series. Using various forms of the creative arts, Kelly seeks to heal the emotional and spiritual scars that remain from her 1979 open heart surgery. While her ventricular septal defect was repaired and no physical limitations remain, she's just recently realized how vital the arts are to her healing process. Visit Kelly’s website by clicking here.